LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Wile Lee’s Summit resident Sean Curry grew up in the city of 100,000, he spent the last several years in Nashville, the music city. It’s a place that has an identity and makes money off of it. That’s why he said he can understand why city officials want to invest in a branding campaign.
“I think it would give identity,” said Curry. “I think it would be easier to say Lee’s Summit is this or Lee’s Summit is that. Come and check us out.”
The problem Curry has is that it will cost $260,000 and $170,000 of that will come in budget cuts.
“You’re taking $300,000 that could go into all of the areas that everyone needs at the moment – jobs, healthcare, schools – and we’re taking $300,000 so that we recognize – like ‘oh that’s Lee’s Summit,’ he said.
While it is going to cost money up front, City Manager Steve Arbo said the investment, which he hopes will lure new visitors, residents and businesses, could pay off in the long run.
“We’re very proud of who we are,” said Arbo. “I think it’s great that we spend a little money to tell people about who we are because I think we’re an attractive community and a lot of times you won’t attract other investors or even visitors if they don’t know who you are.”
That’s why Lee’s Summit will spend the money, which will include hiring a full time brand manager to get the city’s identity, culture and slogan — “yours truly” — out there.
That said, even Arbo noted it will be hard to measure the branding campaign’s success.
“It could be very easy for someone to say, what’s our return on investment and these types of things, sometimes it’s not easy to measure,” aid the City Manager. “If you ask, did you come here because of the brand or did you invest in our city because of the brand, more times than not, they will say no. They won’t realize it was one of the factors that drew them to our community.”
Which is, essentially, what good advertising does.
While the City of Lee’s Summit is financing the campaign, the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce is administering it. It’ll take about 20 months to complete the campaign at which time the city will evaluate its progress.